Holocaust Remembrance Program
The Holocaust Program was sponsored by the Jewish Lawyers Guild and The Gender Fairness Committee of the Supreme Court, Civil Branch, New York County.
Amud Aish Memorial Museum provided a historically important exhibition of objects found at the notorious Dachau Concentration Camp from Seymour Kaplan’s private collection.
The event took place at the NYS Supreme Court Rotunda
Rav Yehoshua Leib Diskin (1818–1898), also known as the Brisker Rav or the Maharil Diskin, was an influential Torah leader. He served as a rav in Łomża, Mezritch, Kovno, Shklov, Brisk and finally Jerusalem, after moving to Eretz Yisrael in 1878.
The pasuk in this week’s parsha states:
לֹא יִקְרְחוּ קָרְחָה בְּרֹאשָׁם וּפְאַת זְקָנָם לֹא יְגַלֵּחוּ וּבִבְשָׂרָם לֹא יִשְׂרְטוּ שָׂרָטֶת
"They shall not make bald patches on their heads, nor shall they shave the edge of their beard, nor shall they make cuts in their flesh"
קְדֹשִׁים יִהְיוּ לֵאלֹקיהֶם וְלֹא יְחַלְּלוּ שֵׁם אֱלֹקיהֶם כִּי אֶת אִשֵּׁי ה' לֶחֶם אֱלֹקיהֶם הֵם מַקְרִיבִם וְהָיוּ קֹדֶשׁ
"They shall be holy to their G-d, and they shall not desecrate their G-d's Name, for they offer up the fire offerings of the Lord, the food offering of their G-d, so they shall be holy"
Why is the Torah concerned about the appearance of the Kohanim. Shouldn’t this not be an issue if it does not affect their performance in the Avodah?
Reb Yehoshua Leib Diskin offers the following explanation:
It was not uncommon in those days for leaders of other sects and religions to have distinct external appearance in order to differentiate themselves from the laymen. However, the Torah is instructing the Kohanim that their leadership will not be discerned through external appearances, rather through their internal devotion to the Ribbono Shel Olam. His actions is what will set an example to Klal Yisroel, not his dress, hair or other marks.
Furthermore, Reb Yehoshua Leib explains that this is message to all generations of Klal Yisrael. Our mark of distinction is through our actions, not external trappings.